To the editor: Regarding the article on the legislature’s PFD working group, I’m glad to hear that our lawmakers are trying to have a constructive conversation about this critical issue of the state’s budget.
In response to Sen. Scott Kawasaki’s perspective that people rely on the PFD “for fuel, for health care, for education, for the basics of life,” I would like to point out that people also truly rely on state spending, which supports health care, preschool to college education, road maintenance, law enforcement, resource management and much more. These are critical services.
If we really want to use the permanent fund dividends wisely, we should be open to other formulas or even an income-based system that would pay a higher amount to those who need it most. Those with lower incomes need a higher PFD in a way that those in upper income brackets do not. One person might be filling their home’s heating oil tank, while another might be putting a down payment on a recreational snowmachine or a trip to Hawaii. Both are contributing to the economy, of course, but one needs the money for the real basics of life. I would encourage lawmakers to address this in their conversations.
I would also encourage all residents to share their insights on this issue with our governor and other lawmakers today. They need to hear from us, not just at election time. Anyone who has received a PFD check can contribute to this important conversation.